Nail biting. Skin peeling. Hair plucking. Pimple popping. These self-grooming habits can be weirdly gratifying, and many of us are guilty of succumbing to the urges. I mean, it just feels so good. So good, in fact, that it can become excessive and lead to bleeding, sores, and scarring. According to celebrity esthetician and founder of her eponymous skincare collection Renée Rouleau, “You have to realize that, although you can’t always control breakouts from appearing, you can control what happens when you get the breakout. The truth of the matter is, a blemish usually lasts five to seven days. But the redness or dark scar [that results] from picking at the blemish can linger for weeks—even months.”
Whether it’s an absentminded habit or a full-blown case of excoriation disorder, it's important that your skin picking is practiced with extreme caution. “There is a life cycle to a blemish and when you interfere with this process (by picking at the wrong time or using a super drying spot treatment), you’re actually making it last so much longer,” says Rouleau. “Work in sync with the various stages of the blemish so that you’re an ally and not an enemy.” Wait until your pimple has a head to extract and always use proper, sanitized tools. Shop our selection of the most satisfying, safe, and effective ones, below.
You’re not alone if you’ve ever taken satisfaction in watching Dr. Sandra Lee squeeze the living gunk out of a pimple. Grab one of these medical-grade dual-ended blemish extractors to obliterate your next pesky breakout.
Dermaflash's newest tech gadget has two modes (extract and infuse) and is super simple to use: Just wet your face and glide the metal blade against your skin. Its light vibrations gently exfoliate and push out gunk trapped inside your pores. Then apply a serum and switch to infuse mode to help all that skincare goodness seep into the skin.
Dryness and acne? It's a pesky combination, but this tool tackles both problems. The flat end can be used to exfoliate those dry patches, and the loop is perfect for all of your pimple extracting needs.
Ever wish you could just suck the blackheads out of your face? You can with this mini facial vacuum. Use it two or three times a week to clean out excess dirt and oil from your pores.
This extractor from Sephora’s in-house beauty line is two tools for the price of one. Use the smaller loop for getting out whiteheads and the flatter loop for pushing out blackheads. Just be sure to steam your face first to make extracting easier.
This no-frills stainless steel tool might look intimidating, but the hook-like contraption allows you to squeeze out blackheads without scarring yourself with your nails in the process.
Even with all of these tools at your disposal, we know it’s hard to resist falling into your old ways and using your handy fingers. Enter: finger cots. Pop one of these on your fingertips the next time you pick—it gives you all the control without exposing your skin to bacteria and sharp nails.
Skincare extraordinaire Renee Rouleau's kit comes with lancets—which were specifically designed to provide a safe and sterile way to prick those pesky pimples. Use the tip to pierce through and create a passage to funnel the puss out, then use the cotton swabs to gently squeeze out the puss from the opening. Follow up with her four best-selling blemish products to prevent breakouts from coming back.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.